Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Assembled by film historian Kevin Brownlow and narrated by actor Kenneth Branagh, this 90-minute special celebrates the classic horror films that emanated from Hollywood's Universal Studios. Beginning with such silent classics as The Phantom of the Opera and The Cat and the Canary, Universal went into full gear in the early '30s, launching such valuable properties as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, and (in the 1940s) The Wolf Man, and making stars of the "twin titans of terror," Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The studio maintained its horror quota well into the 1950s with its Creature from the Black Lagoon series, but the emphasis in this special is on the pre-1948 scare fests. Highlights include interviews with surviving Universal actors and technicians (Gloria Stuart is particularly amusing), and rare clips from Dracula [Spanish-language version]. Universal Horror made its American TV debut on the Turner Classic Movies cable service.